Chapter VII - ARAHANTA VAGGA - The Worthy
LIKE THE EARTH ARAHANTS RESENT NOT
Pathavi samo no virujjhati indakhilupamo tadi subbato
Rahado' va apeta kaddamo samsara na bhavanti tadino.
Like the earth, the Arahant is patient and when provoked does not respond in anger. He is comparable to an Indakhila. 1 He is serene and pure like a lake free from mud. For such a balanced one2 there will be no more rebirth3.
VII: 06 The monk who accused Venerable Sariputta
It was the end of the vassa rainy season; and Venerable Sariputta was about to set out on a journey with some bhikkhus. A young bhikkhu, who bore some grudge against Sariputta approached the Buddha and complained that Sariputta had abused him and beaten him. The Buddha therefore sent for Sariputta and gave him the opportunity to explain himself. Without asserting his innocence he replied as follows, 'Venerable Sir! How could a bhikkhu, who steadfastly keeps his mind on the body, set out on a journey without apologising, after doing wrong to a fellow bhikkhu? I am like the earth, which feels no pleasure when flowers are cast on it, nor resentment when rubbish and excrete are piled upon it. I am also like the door-mat, the beggar, the bull with broken horns, I also feel abhorrence for the impurity of the body and am no longer attached to it.'
When Sariputta spoke in such a humble way the young erring bhikkhu felt remorse and admitted that he had wrongly accused Sariputta. Then the Buddha advised Sariputta to accept the apology of the young bhikkhu, lest a bad effect should fall on the latter. The young bhikkhu then respectfully asked for pardon. Sariputta pardoned the young bhikkhu and in turn asked to be forgiven if he also had done any wrong.*
All those present praised Sariputta, and the Buddha said, 'Bhikkhus, an Arahant like Sariputta has no anger or ill-will in him. Like the earth and the door-post, he is patient, tolerant and firm, he is serene and pure.'
- By Indakhila is meant either a column as firm and high as that of Sakka's, or the chief column that stands at the entrance to a city.
Commentators state that these indakhilas are firm posts which are erected either inside or outside the city as an embellishment. Usually they are made of bricks or of durable wood and are octagonal in shape. Half of the post is embedded in the earth, hence the metaphor 'as firm and steady as an indakhila '.
- Tadi is one who has neither attachment to desirable objects nor aversion to undesirable objects. Nor does he cling to anything. Amidst the eight worldly conditions - gain and loss, fame and infamy, blame and praise, happiness and pain - an Arahant remains unperturbed, manifesting neither attachment nor aversion, neither elation nor depression.
- As they are not subject to birth and death.
Samsara is defined as the unbroken flow of the stream of aggregates, elements, and sense-faculties.
Samsara is also explained as the 'continued flow of the stream of being from life to life, from existence to existence'.
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